Apple Watch Series 5 was launched alongside iPhone 11 series, offering consumers the perfect upgrade opportunity as a pair. While our first preference would be towards upgrading your iPhone, the Apple Watch Series 5 is still a solid companion for your iPhone.
Apple Watch Series 5 starts at Rs 40,900 for GPS model and Rs 49,900 for GPS+cellular. The pricing changes for 44mm band and the colour you choose. You can find all the models and their official pricing in India on Amazon.in. It's clearly not going cheap, but the question you should be asking is whether Watch S5 is a worthy upgrade. Since it's a festive season and if you're looking at Apple Watch S5 for gifting option, this review is going to make perfect sense.
Here's our review of Apple Watch Series 5:
Look and feel
Apple Watch Series 5 is the best premium smartwatch you can buy, just like the series 4 models. Everything from taking out the watch from its unique packaging to connecting the straps to the safely-wrapped square-shaped dial. There isn't much that's changed in the S5 from last year's model.
Apple Watch Series 5 feels comfortable to wear, even for a long duration. The silicone strap doesn't cause irritation and it looks as premium as it gets. It's easy to don Apple Watch with any attire, formal or casual, as long as you have the right band.
The curved display with sleek bezels, the iconic crown and watch bands that seamlessly attach to the dial is a familiar design and a quite popular one. The crown is as useful as ever and has an excellent response. The touch on the display is as good as you'd find on the iPhone and that's more than we could ask for.
While the look and feel of the Apple Watch Series 5 isn't changed much from last year, the biggest highlight is the always-on display. The feature is not entirely new but is a welcoming change. It's not about who did it first, rather who did it better and Apple takes away the crown.
For Apple Watch users, this is surely the biggest change. And even by industry standards, it is the most effective integration that's done beautifully. Apple Watch Series 5 is now always on but brightens up only when you are about to use it. The Always-On Retina Display uses LTPO technology, which adjusts the refresh rate from 60Hz to 1Hz. When you lower the wrist, the screen dims and it brightens up as you raise or tap it.
The dim screen isn't too dark, it can still show the time, date and all the complications you've chosen to display on the watch face. In fact, it works surprisingly well even under sunlight, so you don't actually have to raise your wrist to wake the display from its standby state.
The OLED display in its full brightness is truly impressive. The Meridian watch face is quite interesting as it goes from a white to black dial when the hand is in a resting position. But the abundance of watch faces will impress you as you won't ever run out of options. Depending on the watch face, you can choose what and how many complications you want to see at a glance.
The touch response is quite accurate and rarely did I encounter accidental touch. Overall, the display is still Apple Watch's strong suit, now more than ever with the always-on screen. I found covering the display with your palm to dim the display a nifty gesture, so you don't need to always twist your wrist.
If Apple could improve, there's one area. Apple Watch S5 blurs the apps while they are running if you are not looking at it. I wished certain apps like Music, Workout showed the app running even in the dim screen. Maybe a software update could change that.
The stories about Apple Watch saving lives are endless. In fact, Apple made sure the world knew of it by adding some customer reviews at the launch. Features like ECG, heart rate monitoring, steps counter, GPS and more are extremely useful, but they had been a part of Apple Watch Series 4. But Apple Watch Series 5 has some new additions worth mentioning.
This is a great feature to have if you want to track your periods. All the women out there will be able to predict fertile window and can predict the next period. But like most apps out there, Apple Watch S5, too, requires you to input your information in the Health app, such as first and last day of last period, length of the cycle and such. You'll also be able to put the feature as a complication on the main screen for easy access.
Emergency international calling
This feature works as the name suggests. If you have cellular service setup on your watch, you can use the global SOS feature on your watch. All you would need to do is press and hold the side button and the watch will call the emergency helpline in whichever country you are in. Of course, we couldn't test this feature, but it is bound to work as promised.
This particular one is my favourite. I no longer had to take out my phone for some quick calculations. I added the Calculator complication to the watch face so it's just a tap away.
I probably didn't find any solid use case for the compass, but I tested for its accuracy and it's as good as it can be.
Noise level detection
This app was more informative than of any practical use. Your Apple Watch S5 can accurately pick up the sounds in your surrounding and show if it is safe for your ears. Usually, I'd find the decibels in amber, but in home or office, the levels would always be safe, which is where I spent most of my time.
I found myself using the heart rate and ECG features more often and it seemed pretty accurate. The steps counter works flawlessly and the regular reminders to stand up if I sat for too long, walk when idle for long and daily notification about being more active finally inspired me to watch my fitness. It's a good awakening and I'm motivated to be more active than before.
Apple Watch Series 5 hasn't added more life to the battery. But that's not entirely a bad thing, considering the new watch has got an always-on display. With my use, Apple Watch Series 5 would last a full day. But I would have to put the watch to charge every night. I'm not used to sleeping with a smartwatch strapped to my wrist, so it made perfect sense to have a fully-charged Apple Watch in time for work. Another reason for leaving it to overnight charging is the lack of fast charging. Now, the new iPhones have finally got fast charging, it's about time the watch also got some upgrade. I really hope the next Apple Watch can last at least two days with full usage and tracking.
Should you be buying one?
Apple Watch Series 5 is definitely a great smartwatch, better than its predecessor in some ways. The always-on display and additions of a few new features make a solid difference. But Apple Watch S5 doesn't come cheap. It starts at Rs 40,900 and it only gets pricier from there depending on the model you choose.
If the new features don't fancy you, the Apple Watch Series 4 is an excellent option. You can save a few bucks if you're willing to settle for some compromises. Going as far back as the series 3 is also worth considering as it can save you half as much you'd spend on the series 5. If you have a series 4, we don't see the urge to upgrade unless you really want to have Apple's latest and best products, no matter the cost.